THE NINE WAVES by Mihir Bose

The Nine Waves
by Mihir Bose

Published by:
Pitch Publishing
9 Donnington Park, 85 Birdham Road,
Chichester, West Sussex PO20 7AJ.


Pages: 416

MRP: £19.99

Copies may be purchased from The Nine Waves | Pitch Publishing


I have always found that if I need to find out anything about Indian cricket, Mihir Bose's books are usually the first port of call. Mihir's A History of Indian Cricket (in both hardback and softback) is, to me, the definitive history so I can freely admit that his latest book, The Nine Waves, was one which I was looking forward to reading.

Here I must beg Mihir's pardon as, until I saw the list of his other books at the end of this tome, I was unaware of his wide-ranging categories of subjects on which he has written. I am delighted that I have the vast majority of his cricket books; I knew that he had written on football, but his historical, biographical and business books came as a surprise. How to invest in a Bear Market and The Indian Spy: The True Story of the Most Remarkable Secret Agent of World War II look appealing.

To The Nine Waves first, though. I would have to say first that this, to me, could become almost the definitive history of Indian Cricket tracing cricket in that remarkable country from its earliest days to the present, and categorised into waves. For one who has had the pleasure of visiting India over forty times, I can relate to, through Mihir's words, much of the change which I myself have experienced since first visiting in the mid-1980s.

Mihir's extensive involvement with India's cricket comes across through some of his personal experiences and memories. I like to think that I have a good knowledge of the Indian game but there are so many facts and tit-bits within these pages which were new to me. In this book, he has shown once again that he stands out as a fine researcher and chronicler. It is a difficult book to put down. Some of the top players had exacting times to reach the pinnacle and examples of this are given. As is how Bumrah's bowling action came about.

It would be easy to concentrate more on the more recent past. After all, India, until they won the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa with a side with few big names and captained by a player with no previous international captaincy experience, T20 cricket had not taken off in India as it had elsewhere. There seemed little appetite for the competition in 2007 only for it to take off spectacularly after M.S. Dhoni's side captured the cup beating rivals Pakistan in an absorbing contest. With the IPL as it is now, it is difficult to register that this T20 win was just fifteen years ago.

It seems remarkable to read how little financial acumen seemed to be prevalent in the not-too-distant past. Mihir covers this area expertly - as he does all aspects - in showing how India has become the powerhouse of cricket. Their current identity, like the nation's, is vastly different - indeed barely identifiable - than it was fifty years ago.

I realise that I have digressed. Yes, The Nine Waves brings us up to date with India's more recent history but the past has certainly not been forgotten or indeed covered in small detail. Charted alongside India's cricket is the coverage of the country, both aspects being fascinating in their own right and legendary cricketers brought back to life.

The lengthy chapters on M.S. Dhoni were fascinating to me as I have been privileged to have known him and he would always stop and have a chat when he played at Lord's. Dhoni has highlighted the changes in Indian cricket and society. For years, international teams were almost always the sole preserve of Bombay (now Mumbai) players. Dhoni has brought infrastructure to his home city, Ranchi, and his state has also benefited greatly from his cricketing prowess and personality. There have been many fine role models in Indian cricket, all of whom are mentioned in detail.

The Nine Waves also benefits greatly from the many cricketers, administrators and others who were interviewed for the book. The bibliography in itself is quite an eye-opener. The statistical section, provided by Rajneesh Gupta, is excellent and includes also the best performers in each wave of Indian cricket. Mihir Bose once again deserves considerable acclaim for this superb book and I wish him and Pitch Publishing every success with it. I have little doubt that it will be my "go to" book for anything about Indian cricket. With India solely hosting next year's I.C.C World Cup for the first time, the tenth wave may not be long away.